Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Begins at Home

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Here's a novel way to start putting CSR into play. The writer, Scott Cooney, was suggesting a strategy for dealing with the economic crisis. Cooney calls it a counterintuitive strategy.

Try this: empower your employees. Give them even more reign over your company. Task them with righting the ship. Elevate them, during this time of crisis, to the level of partner. Ask them to think like an owner.

It may not resemble the usual CSR programs, but think about it--isn't this the essence of responsibility to one of the critical set of stakeholders, the employees. I don't think it is counterintuitive at all, just not normal. I find it quite the intuitive way to run a firm that sees itself as contributing to sustainability. I have said for a long time that the place to start CSR is within the firm, not somewhere outside. There is plenty of need and opportunity to right the wrongs of the world, but, with the exception of a very small number of firms, the concept of CSR will not get into their DNA until it is practiced in place first.